Monday, May 21, 2012

Why This November’s Election Matters More Than Ever

           The future of our country could depend on the upcoming election, and it’s not for the reason you are thinking.  As we are all aware, this November our country will choose either Barack Obama or Mitt Romney as our President for the next four years.  We are all aware of how important a presidential election is.  Presidents have the power to push legislation through Congress and to veto legislation they disagree with.  The President has powers of military action abroad, even without a congressional declaration of war, and powers to issue executive orders or signing statements that more or less amount to “executive legislation.” 

            However, one of the most important duties that a President has is the nomination of Supreme Court Justices.  Over the next four years, there is a reasonable chance that multiple Justices currently sitting on the bench will choose to retire.  Currently, four of the nine Justices are 74 years of age or older (2 conservatives, 2 liberals).  It stands to reason that the next President could have the opportunity to change the balance in the Supreme Court, by replacing a retiring conservative Justice with a liberal Justice, or vice versa.  In recent years, a number of monumental cases have seen the Court split the vote by a 5-4 margin. 

For those who believe the Supreme Court would never allow for the banning of handgun possession, the case of D.C. v. Heller ended with the Supreme Court’s 5-4 vote striking down a Washington, D.C. law that attempted to do just that.  For those who believe the Supreme Court would never order 46,000 inmates released from California prisons, it was a 5-4 decision that recently made such a ruling.  It was also a 5-4 ruling that, in 2007, upheld the nationwide ban on partial-birth abortions.  There are dozens of other recent cases of extraordinary importance – that were decided, in essence, by one individual.  A tie-breaking, earth-shattering vote cast by a Justice appointed to the bench by a former President.  A President just like the one who will be leading our country for the next four years. 

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